MoD attacks critics in sailors selling stories saga

The Ministry of Defence has hit back at critics of its media handling, following the tidal wave of negative press coverage that has surrounded the Iran captives selling their stories.

A spokesman for the ­­Navy told PRWeek it had allowed its personnel to deal directly with media­ organisations in a bid to appear transparent.

But those journalists left without scoops turned on the organisation, he claimed.  ‘We had people who wanted scoops [who didn't get them] and so we had people who spoiled it and stirred things up a bit.'

Media organisations contacted the families of the 15 captured sailors and marines while they were still in captivity. Each of the families of the captured personnel were assigned a ‘media shield' to provide strategic advice. But the Navy has not been involved in any discussions about money, according to the spokesman.

MoD director of news James Clark has backed the Navy's decision to allow staff to speak to the press. This week, it emerged that Clark is to be seconded to the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Defence secretary Des Browne has announced a review of regulations governing whether personnel in the armed forces can sell stories.

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